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Opinion

Problems with Safari LT solar generator – don’t get one

I shared before that I had bought a Safari LT solar generator but it turns out that I am going to have to return it and get a refund. I had way too many problems with it.

Yes I know I wrote a positive article about it when I first got it, but as I have used it unfortunately it has been unreliable. This happens to many companies who make solar generators and it is not surprising. Here are the problems I experienced:

  • Buttons failing to work – Every button on the unit randomly fails to work. This means that I can’t turn it on most of the time, turn it off, make it charge from solar, output to dc or output to AC. Kind of makes this unit worthless. I sent an email to the company and they acknowledged it sounded like a problem with the BMS and are going to send me a RMA to return/refund.
  • Failing to charge – When the button does work to charge it will randomly stop charging from solar. I have to unplug and replug in the solar connection and then it continues to charge. This is annoying. It means you have to baby sit the unit.
  • Not accepting the full charge coming in – I have a 100W solar panel and the highest I have seen is 60W on a bright sunny and cloudless day. It should be more towards 100W since this panel is tested and produces more than the stated 100W. I don’t believe the charge controller is accepting the full input of what the solar panel is delivering.
  • Flimsy build quality – This unit is built poorly. The cheap plastic is not going to last beyond 3 years of average use. In the situations they list in the advertisement I doubt it would last 1 year.
  • Reset button fails to do anything – I pushed the reset button twice and I didn’t notice any change in behavior. They might as well left it out because it was useless.
  • Poor customer service – I requested an RMA weeks ago and they haven’t responded. What is the point of buying something if you aren’t going to get service when there is a problem?
  • Treat dealers terribly – The dealer I bought it from is getting the round around from the company as well. If they treat their dealers as thought they don’t matter, what do you think people will do? They will switch to another company that treats them better and has a better product.

I could go on but this is enough. Unfortunately the unit I was going to upgrade to has problems as well and when I discovered this I asked the dealer to cancel the order. I haven’t decided what I am going to buy yet, but I have a couple ideas in mind. I will share what I get with you when it comes in.

Phantom power will waste your energy and cost you money

Did you know that your devices can consume electricity even when they are turned off? This does not help a solar power situation.

It is called phantom power and there are power strips that can identify this and turn it off. Often electronics might have something like a red led to show they are on or on standby like a TV. It doesn’t seem like much, but those cost money to keep going. In fact, people who turn off their electrical strips regularly say that they see a difference in what they are paying.

Therefore we have 3 reasons to turn off this phantom power usage: save money, save environment, save wear and tear on equipment.

You can search for phantom power strips to find these adapters. You can also ask an electrician to put those devices on a circuit or to educate you on what circuits you can turn off in your house or apartment. I use the power strips to do this automatically. I don’t think that it is worthwhile to manually do this process since it is tedious and not likely most people are going to continue to do.

What else can you do to reduce the amount of power you use? You can evaluate buying more energy efficient appliances. It is possible that any appliance over 5 years old is consuming more in electrical costs than it would cost to buy a new appliance. You have to do the math here, but generally replacing older appliances saves you money.

Don’t forget that being solar means that you can also connect many appliances to a solar generator. It depends on the wattage of the unit you buy, but many smaller devices that you might charge via USB work very well with even the cheapest solar generators. Rather than buy an adapter or wear out your computer usb ports, getting a solar generator will save that wear and tear on your expensive laptops.

Solar power and wise electrical management will save you time and money.